Here’s the thing about humans: we think we know what we want but, really, we have no idea.
For example, I might think I want an ice cream cake at two in the morning, when I probably really just want to go to sleep. You may think you want a partner who is a 6’5” professional rugby player who plays jazz sax as a hobby, when your true soul mate is actually a short couch potato who can’t carry a tune.
See, that’s the problem with having a long checklist of what you’re looking for in a man or a woman. You might think you’re narrowing the field to the people you’re most likely to want to be with but you’re really just missing out on some wonderful humans who you don’t even know may be perfect for you.
So if you’re dating right now, throw away your idea of what “your type” is. Instead, try this:
Give people a chance.
The annals of relationship history are full of stories of people who ended up with somebody who they never would have thought a good match. It was only after taking the time to get to know the person that attraction, affection, and affinity developed and they were able to realize that this was who they were looking for all along.
None of those stories would have happened if instead of going out on a limb, these people just swiped left and moved on with their lives.
Ditch your preconceived notions of who you are and what you want.
How well do you really know yourself? Do you know how you might respond in a Kitty Genovese situation? Do you know how you actually stack up to others when it comes to intelligence? Are you aware of all of your hidden covert biases?
See, people are actually a lot less self-aware than we realize. Most of us don’t even know what our true strengths and weaknesses are. So what makes you so sure that you know who you’re meant to end up with? Chances are, you’re wrong about that, too.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Sure, there’s something easy and validating about only dating the people who match up with your idea of a certain “type.” But it also sounds pretty boring. Dating is a unique time when you can expand your horizons and be exposed to all sorts of people. So why limit yourself to one particular “kind” of person?
When you agree to give it a shot even with somebody who doesn’t match the checklist in your diary, you’ll probably learn something new, grow as a person, and maybe even fall in actual love.
Go with the flow.
If you think you have any control over your life, you’re dreaming. An earthquake or hurricane or global pandemic (ahem) can come sweeping in at any moment and change everything you thought you knew about the world.
So loosen your grip on things a little – because not doing so is just asking for frustration. Trust your feelings and your gut instead of your head’s over-analyzed idea of what’s right. Let life surprise and delight and frighten and excite you. End up with who you end up with, and appreciate them for everything that they are.